Making of a Monster – Part 1

Today begins my step-by-step tutorial about the making of my poster for The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles’ Illustration West 59 call for entries poster. Illustration West 59 is SILA’s 59th annual art competition for professional illustrators and students, for which I am serving as Show Chair. The deadline to enter is only a few short weeks away on October 31. (CLICK HERE for entry details.)

As Show Chair, along with choosing my jury and other various administrative tasks, I was asked to create the poster image this year. While the contest is open to entrants from around the globe, SILA is based in Los Angeles, the hub for movie making. With my penchant for drawing monsters, what better way to promote an LA contest than with a monster movie poster!


Painting a happy little monster Bob Ross style!


I love old vintage movie posters, and immediately my mind went to the monster movie posters of the 1950s. In looking on the internet at what had come before, it became evident that the ones I most gravitated to were images of huge monsters with people running in abject terror, usually with a couple in the foreground really showing the emotional distress of such citywide intrusions into their lives.



In picking out my favorites, it dawned on me that most of these great posters were illustrated by the legendary Reynold Brown. Not surprising, I later learned that Reynold had been a professor at Pasadena’s Art Center college where he had been an instructor of one of my judges, famed movie poster artist Drew Struzan! Ah yes, I had chosen to be inspired by the best.

So, to begin with, I sketched a number of thumbnail sketches (little super sketchy drawings just to get some ideas down in a visual way), soon settling on a furry, alien-like octopus breaking through the Los Angeles skyline. Unfortunately, I don’t have my rough rejected ideas to show you, but I CAN show you the drawing I settled on.



After showing it around, I had gotten some feedback that maybe it should be modernized a little to steer away from it looking too fifties. The only trouble is, there are a LOT of people currently in LA who dress in vintage clothes from the ’40s and ’50s as it is, so I was reluctant. As a way to modernize, I did this sketch changing the man’s clothes, and putting tattoos on the figures. Ultimately, I didn’t care for this approach, preferring to keep it more vintage.



By the way, I do my planning sketches in Photoshop on the computer. Working on a Cintiq monitor for drawing, I draw in layers which allows for easy changes to the composition while working through it. This is how I start all my traditional paintings – working it out on the computer first.

The next step is to paint a color comprehensive sketch on the computer. This is a great place to work out issues of color, make changes as necessary, and make sure it is all working before going to the trouble of breaking out actual paint and paper. I will print this out, and keep it on my drafting table as a guide while I work on the final traditional art.



So, come back tomorrow as I show you the first steps of creating this illustration on actual bonafide PAPER! Shocking, isn’t it? Ha!

Green Guy

Netflix’s Green Eggs & Ham show continues to be enjoyed by viewers all over the world. It has been fun seeing all the fan art on the web by those who love the show. Netflix announced a second season which I know the crew over at Warner Bros. TV Animation has been busy working on. How do I know? I worked on season 2!

Specifically, I worked on storyboards for the second season, which I wrapped on last year. These were some of my character study sketches for the character of Guy Am I (Sam I Am’s buddy voiced with perfect grumpiness by Michael Douglas) that I drew to get used to the style and feel of the show.


Go green.


I don’t know when season 2 will sizzle from the pan for you all, but I’m excited to see everyone’s efforts just as much as you are!

By the way, if you’d like to see more of my GEAH art here on the ol’ blog, CLICK HERE!

Sam I Am

At the risk of sounding monotonous with the third post in a row about emerald colored chicken orbs and porcine meat, it really was a privilege to have worked at Warner Bros. on the traditionally animated Green Eggs and Ham series that currently is streaming on Netflix. It’s encouraging to have been reading so many great comments from fans on various posts online who have been enjoying the labor our team near and far put into the show.

These were just a few of my practice drawings created to get a feel for the character of Sam I Am when I started on the show back in 2018. It was such a treat to get to draw for an adaptation of my favorite Dr. Seuss book, and I’m now a hero to my nephews and niece.

I did not draw them in a house, I did not draw them with a mouse.

Exploration of Character Design

I’m sharing with you today, some actual animation character design work I created a while back. Thought it might be interesting to give you a little taste of the process.

The assignment in this case was to create a little brother character for an already designed big sister. The only stipulation is that he needed to be wearing a hoodie, jeans, and sneakers, and the script called for him to be mischievous. Hoo boy, what a task it turned out to be! You see before you about 20 or so exploratory sketches, but I did about 60 different versions in all.


Just a few of the many options explored for this character.


The client just couldn’t decide which way he wanted to go. Every time I presented a few versions, there would be comments and suggestions on how to change it whether it was the weight of the kid, his hair – whatever! Two other designers eventually got involved, too, and they experienced the same indecision from the client. It was certainly frustrating, because we wanted to please the client.

Eventually a design was chosen (one conceived by one of my colleagues), and then I created the turns (that’s the view of the character from all sides), and continued with some personality sketches, mouth charts, etc. I never would have thought a little boy would have been my toughest character design assignment, but it was.

So there you have it – some of the glitz and glamour of being an artist for hire.


This pencil drawing stares me in the face every day since it is taped up on the wall in my studio. For some reason, I never thought to post it before. It was done years ago when Arnold Schwarzenegger was the Governator of Cal-ee-fornia as part of the development of an illustration of him that I was working on at the time.

If you’d like to see the full illustration, CLICK HERE.


It’s not a tumor!

Clubhouse Magazine – Noah Girl

Today is the final of three illustrations that appear in the July 2017 issue of Clubhouse Magazine for kids published by Focus on the Family. (If you missed the other two, just look at the previous two posts here on the ol’ blog.) All three images belong to a fun quiz that kids can take to help prevent summer boredom!

This image is of a little girl who, out of desperation of being stuck inside for a three-day rainstorm, has decided that her bed is the ark, her toys are the animals, and yes, that she is Noah in search of dry land with the rubber ducky she is about to release.

As in the previous posts, here is the rough drawing with a rough color job all worked out in Photoshop in preparation for the final traditionally created illustration.


This girl takes her playtime very seriously.


To help dry up “Noah’s” water problem, water was used with watercolor paint and colored pencil on textured paper to create a scene that is epic in this little girl’s own mind.


I’m sure to a child, three days of rain can seem like forty.


I sure enjoyed this assignment. Hope you enjoyed seeing all three illustrations created for it!

If you are interested in owning this original published art measuring roughly 14×12″, it is available for $700. Shipping is included within the USA. Additional charges will apply for international shipping. Feel free to contact me at if interested in purchasing this or any other art in my FOR SALE category here on the ol’ blog.

Clubhouse Magazine – Lobster Lad

Last week I started sharing with you the first of three illustrations created for the July 2017 issue of Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Magazine that is available NOW if you reach out to Clubhouse! Today you get to see the second piece.

This one is a tad bit unusual. Lobster Lad is a boy who is pretending to be a lobster in order to get out of a writing assignment. After all, how can a lobster ever hold a pencil with those sharp and powerful claws? Also, it is terribly difficult to write on wet paper. The boy’s plan is genius.

First, here is the final rough drawing that was colored in Photoshop to work out the color scheme.


You might say that this is the lobster art before it is cooked.


Here is the final watercolor and colored pencil illustration that appears in the magazine.


I wonder how much a 50 pound lobster would cost?


If you are interested in owning this original published art measuring roughly 11×12″, it is available for $500. Shipping is included within the USA. Additional charges will apply for international shipping. Feel free to contact me at if interested in purchasing this or any other art in my FOR SALE category here on the ol’ blog.

Clubhouse Magazine – Road Trip

Earlier this year I worked on some illustrations for the July issue of Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Magazine. Clubhouse is a Christian magazine for kids that along with teaching life lessons and biblical principles, it is LOADED with fun!

My assignment was to create three illustrations to go along with a silly multiple choice quiz to help kids avoid summertime boredom. So I whipped up some concoctions with genuine watercolor paint and colored pencils for maximum entertainment! I’ll spread them out over the course of this month, but for now, here’s one to remind you to stay alert on road trips!

To start, I send an uncolored rough drawing to my art director for approval. If she wants changes, I make changes.

Then I do a color rough for myself in Photoshop. It helps to figure out what colors work in the composition in this way before going to the trouble of mixing paints. There was also the added issue of doing three illustrations for one story, so I wanted to be sure my colors would help all three pieces look cohesive.


Photoshop helps set the scene.


Next is the fully traditional illustration created in watercolor and colored pencil on genuine paper. Believe it or not, some artists still work this way.


While the destination is the goal of a road trip, there sure is a lot to enjoy on the way to the destination. Don’t miss it!



If you are interested in owning this original published art measuring roughly 13×12″, it is available for $600. Shipping is included within the USA. Additional charges will apply for international shipping. Feel free to contact me at if interested in purchasing this or any other art in my FOR SALE category here on the ol’ blog.